It has been a time of leadership changes in Finland. A Parliamentary election held earlier this year led to a new prime minister. And the country is slated to elect a new president next year. Incumbent President Sauli Niinisto, though immensely popular, is ineligible to run for another term.

Among those speculated as potential presidential candidates has been Alexander Stubb. Stubb, who was briefly the prime minister of Finland, initially denied he would run. But he later indicated that he was open to the notion. And now he is evidently ready to make it official.

Launching a campaign for the presidency

Alexander Stubb will be a candidate for president of Finland. The centre-right National Coalition Party has offered its nomination to him, and he has accepted.

At least the first round of the upcoming election is to be held in early 2024. If no candidate receives an outright majority in that round, a second will be held. In that case, only the top two vote-getters would advance, the rest would be eliminated. To this point, polling has indicated a second round is likely.

Stubb makes the seventh candidate to enter the race. Others include former Deputy Prime Minister Paavo Vayrynen, former Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto, and Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn.

Served in multiple high-profile Cabinet positions

Earlier in his career, Alexander Stubb worked for Finland's Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Academy of Finland. He later became heavily involved with the European Union, including becoming a staffer for European Commission President Romano Prodi. Stubb himself was elected to the European Parliament in 2004.

During his time as an MEP, he became vice-president of the Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

In 2008, Centre Party Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen appointed Stubb as minister for foreign affairs. Succeeding Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, also of the Centre Party, maintained the role. In 2011, Stubb won a seat in the Parliament of Finland.

Shortly after, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen named him as minister for European affairs and trade.

Three years later, Katainen resigned as both prime minister and National Coalition Party chairman. Stubb was selected as the new head of the National Coalition Party, effectively making him the new prime minister. But in 2015, fell from first to third in Parliament seat total in the year's election.

Centre's Juha Sipila became the next prime minister. Sipila made Stubb the minister for finance in the new coalition government. After a number of gaffes in the post, Stubb was ousted as NCP chairman by Petteri Orpo. Orpo also took over as finance minister and has since become prime minister. Stubb was offered to return to the role regarding European affairs and trade.

However, he declined and stepped down from Parliament.

Afterwards, Stubb joined the European Investment Bank as vice president. During the 2019 cycle, he ran for the European People's Party nomination for the European Commission presidency. He lost the nomination to German MEP Manfred Weber. In 2020, Stubb joined the faculty of the European University Institute.

Has a background in sports

Alexander Stubb was born in Helsinki, though he spent much of his youth in the United States. He graduated from Mainland High School there in Daytona Beach, Florida. Stubb went on to serve in the Finnish Army, reaching the rank of lance corporal.

His father, Goran Stubb, is a major figure in ice hockey. Goran was the longtime chairman of HIFK Hockey, one of Finland's top teams in the sport.

During his tenure, HIFK won three league championships. The elder Stubb became a top official with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association and for the 1982 world championships. He has since become a fixture of North America's NHL, serving as its European scouting director. In 2000, he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

The younger Stubb would become involved in several sports in his own right, including famously competing in several Ironman triathlons. But it could well be golf that he's best associated with. Stubb competed at the Division I level of the NCAA in the United States. He competed for Furman University, which he attended on a golf scholarship. He also became a member of Finland's national team.

Stubb had designs on making a professional career out of golf before opting for politics instead.

After obtaining a political science degree from Furman, he returned to Europe, receiving additional degrees from France's Sorbonne University, the College of Europe in Belgium and the London School of Economics.